Hardship status granted to Bassmaster Elite Series pros Byron Haseotes and Jeremy Starks

Byron Haseotes and Jeremy Starks will sit out the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series season.

Both applied for hardship status, and it was granted by B.A.S.S. They will be allowed to return for the 2012 Elite Series season under their 2011 qualifications. If they elect to return, no other angler's eligibility or qualification will be affected. For each reinstated angler, the field would be "plus one."

According to its policy, B.A.S.S. can grant hardship status for an incapacitating illness or injury to the angler or member of his or her immediate family.

Haseotes, who lives in Centerville, Mass., was granted hardship status because of his 7-month-old daughter's continued hospitalization in Boston.

"She's getting better, but her recovery is requiring me to be here. I can't leave her," said Haseotes, who qualified through the 2009 Bassmaster Open circuit for his rookie year in 2010.

Starks said he plans to be back for the 2012 Elite Series after his months-long treatment for a medical condition is complete. He said this week is proving to be emotionally difficult.

"I know the guys are down in Florida practicing now," said Starks, a West Virginian who qualified for the Elite Series in 2006, the tour's inaugural year. "When you've fished the Elites for so many years, it's just odd not to be there."

Both anglers said they are hoping their situations improve by July so that they can continue with their plans to compete in the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open.


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